Senate Ag Committee Leaders Ask USDA to Use CCC to Promote Ag Exports
The Senate Agriculture Committee's chairwoman and ranking member are asking Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to use money available in the Commodity Credit Corporation to "open access to markets," and to send U.S. grown crops as humanitarian aid.
The CCC was always used for foreign trade promotion and for commodity purchases, but its use swelled in the wake of the trade war with China, when it spent billions to help farmers who lost sales due to retaliatory tariffs.
Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and John Boozman, R-Ark., publicized the letter Sept. 6. “As Congress works toward reauthorizing critical programs in the Farm Bill, we continue to hear from organizations representing the vast majority of U.S. agriculture about the need to strengthen trade opportunities, increase revenue streams, and help producers grow and thrive in a global economy,” they wrote. “We believe that resources available under the CCC can support similar efforts to open access to markets and promote American-grown products abroad.”
Members of Congress who represent agriculture interests that rely on exports to support their businesses have complained that the Biden administration has abandoned tariff reductions at home, which can be exchanged for tariff reductions on ag products abroad.
Neither chamber has passed its spending priorities for the department, and House Republicans, in particular, are struggling to find consensus on appropriations. "We are diligently working to produce a strong Farm Bill that can earn majority support in both chambers of Congress," the letter concluded.